Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. Applicable to employers with 100 or more employees, it mandates that by January 4, 2022, all staff be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Unvaccinated employees are required to wear masks at all times, and anyone who tests positive must leave the workplace immediately.

OSHA’s mandate does not apply to remote workers or people who work outdoors exclusively, although they are counted for purposes of the 100-plus employee qualification. Part-time employees and temporary or seasonal workers, not employed through a staffing agency, will also be counted as part of the 100-employee threshold. Workers can apply for religious or medical exemptions.

The ETS requires employers to give staff members paid time off to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects, although they are not required to pay for the weekly testing.

Workplaces must begin offering time off for vaccination and start enforcing mask rules beginning December 5, 2021. OSHA expects the mandate to remain in effect for six months but will continue to monitor developments in the pandemic.

For a summary of OSHA’s ETS, click here. FAQs can be found here.